Victorian rising stars Will Pucovski and Georgia Wareham have scooped the two most coveted awards for young cricketers in Australia, claiming the Young Cricketers of the Year Awards at the 2019 Australia Cricket Awards.
Pucovski took home the 2019 Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year Award following on from his stunning Sheffield Shield form across the summer, with the Victorian scoring a double century against Western Australia as a 20-year-old in October.
Pucovski was called up to Australia’s Test squad for the recent series against Sri Lanka, before being overlooked following Kurtis Patterson’s back-to-back centuries in a warm-up clash in Hobart.
AWARDS BLOG: Live results, video
BLACK CARPET: Best from the Australian Cricket Awards
Every Test, ODI, T20I, and BBL match live. SIGN UP NOW!
During the now 21-year-old’s innings at the WACA, Pucovski was going through mental anguish and later revealed in a Fox Cricket podcast he had been battling mental health issues throughout the innings and courageously stepped away from cricket for a period of six weeks, reaching out to a number of wellbeing and mental health experts.
“It was one of those things where what it looked like from the outside wasn’t quite matching up with what it was on the inside… I was more confused than at any other time in my life,” Pucovski told The Follow-On podcast.
“I was 64 not out overnight if I remember. I got to the game to have my pre-morning hit in the nets and pulled one of the coaches, Lachie Stevens, aside and said ‘look mate, this is what I’m going through. I don’t really understand what’s going on and don’t know why it’s happening but this is what’s happening’.
“It was quite a confronting thing but they were beyond awesome about it… They were just so supportive from the outset.
“I still remember Lachie putting his arm around me and saying ‘Mate, I’m shattered for you and we will get you sorted when you’re back but if you can do anything to get us some runs today that would be great.’”
THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING: The making of Will Pucovski
Cricket: Australian cricket player Will Pucovski has been released from the the men’s test squad to look after his mental health.
Pucovski’s mental battle
During the voting period from December 8, 2017 to December 11, 2018, Pucovski scored 534 runs at an average of 76.29, peeling off two centuries and a half century in his eight innings.
Last year’s Bradman Young Cricketer winner Jhye Richardson made his Test match debut in January 2019, suggesting Pucovski will be well and truly in the mix to represent his country over the next 12 months, with a number of former Australian players believing he should be selected in Australia’s Ashes squad for their brutal five-Test series against England later this year.
Women’s young gun Wareham thoroughly deserved to win the 2019 Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year, following her remarkable rise over the last 12 months, progressing into the Australian team following a strong under 19 tour of South Africa in April.
The 19-year-old leg spinner was part of Australia’s World T20 victory in the Caribbean in November, with the youngster one of the stars of the tournament’s final with two wickets and a direct hit run out in their victory over England.
Cricket: Victorian cricket prodigy Will Pucovski is on the cusp of a call up to the Australian test squad. Here’s a reminder of what he’s capable of with the bat. He scored 243 against Western Australia in 2018 as a 20 year old.
Will Pucovski’s double century
During the voting period from December 9, 2017 to November 12, 2018, Wareham collected 24 wickets at an average of 20.25.
Wareham scooped the award claiming 74 per cent of the vote, with Victorian all-rounder Annabel Sutherland (6 per cent) and NSW spinner Maisy Gibson (6 per cent) rounding out the top three.
There now will be two Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year awards in Wareham’s Malvern East home that she shares with three of her Victorian teammates, with fellow Renegade and Victorian player Sophie Molineux claiming the inaugural award back in 2017.
Originally published as Top young gun: Pucovski claims Bradman award amid tough summer